Tag Archive > Julio Zuleta

Four to Audition for Lotte

» 15 November 2009 » In Uncategorized » Comments Off

The Chiba Lotte Marines are bringing in four foreign players for tryouts from November 16:

  • Bryan Corey (Boston)
  • Bill Murphy (Toronto)
  • Chris Richard (Tampa Bay)
  • Julio Zuleta (Mexican League Reynosa)

Richard is an interesting option, Corey somewhat less so, and I don’t quite see where Richard or Zuleta fit with the recent addition of Kim Tae-gyun. Zuleta also stunk up the Mexican League last season.

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Foreign Player Updates: Laforest, SoftBank, Lotte

» 30 October 2009 » In npb » 1 Comment

Some notes about foreign player movement this offseason, mostly featuring the Chiba Lotte Marines:

  • Pete Laforest had a tryout with the Seibu Lions, the results of which will be announced in a few days. Laforest has spent the last few years in the Mexican League. It’s rare for NPB teams to go after import catchers, so I’m wondering how Laforest would fit on to the Lions’ roster.
  • The SoftBank Hawks are retaining DJ Houlton and Jose Ortiz for next season. You’d have to think they’ll bring Brian Falkenborg back as well.
  • Hanshin is looking for Kenji Johjima to provide input on next year’s foreign roster.
  • Chiba Lotte is looking at bringing in Marlins lefty minor leaguer Carlos Vasquez to pitch relief. Vasquez played for Venezuela in last year’s WBC. At the same time, the Marines want reliable bullpen arm Brian Sikorski to take a 33% pay cut, and may lose him this offseason.
  • More from Lotte: the team is looking at bringing former Marine and Hawk Julio Zuleta back to Japan. He’ll have a tryout in early November, and if he passes, the team will look at him as a low-budget option ($300k) for next year. Zuleta struggled in the Mexican League in 2009.
  • Yeet more from Lotte: the Marines are again looking at Korean slugger Kim Dong Ju this offseason. Kim has been trying to sign with an NPB club for years, and Bobby wanted to bring him to Chiba last season, but got denied by the front office.

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NPB Bullet Points: Brazell Becomes a Dad, KBO Offers for Bobby

» 26 August 2009 » In kbo, npb » 8 Comments

Japanese Stories:

  • Craig Brazell commemorated the birth of his son, Trot, with two home runs in Hanshin’s 9-3 win over Yokohama. Congratulations to the Brazell family!
  • Lotte reportedly has some interest in bringing Julio Zuleta back to Japan. Why? Good question — he wasn’t effective his last few years in Japan, and he got himself released from his Mexican League team early in the season. Lotte team management says he would have to pass a tryout get a contract.
  • Chris Aguila is headed back to the States at the end of the month and is almost certainly done with SoftBank. He only managed to hit .095 and hasn’t played at ichi-gun since May.
  • Yomiuri is considering sending pitcher Norihito Kaneto among others to the Arizona Fall League this year. The team sent a couple of guys to play in the Dominican last winter.
  • “Shaggy” Shugo Fujii has qualified for domestic free agency.
  • It was a “draw”: Hisahi Iwakuma threw 149 pitches over 10 innings on August 25, but Hideaki Wakui threw 162 over nine. Neither pitcher figured in the decision, which Seibu took in a walk-off in the 11th. The winning Lions stormed the field, Taketoshi Gotoh wearing a mask that is supposed to resemble Barrack Obama.
  • Javelin thrower Yukifumi Murakami is reportedly getting a little attention from NPB teams as a pitcher. He supposedly hit 152 kmph (95mph) on the gun in college but maxed out at 142 kmph (87mph) in a recent speed gun competition.

English Stories:

  • Gen passes along a Sponichi report saying that Bobby Valentine is getting offers to manage in Korea.
  • You know those ESPN commercials that make Buster Olney look like an undercover operative or something? It took me two or three times to figure out what he’s supposed to be saying on the phone in Japanese. It’s “Ichiro! My favorite outfielder!” (“Ichiro! Boku no sukina gaiyashu!”).
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Sanspo: Hanshin Moving to Acquire Reinforcements

» 19 May 2009 » In npb » 2 Comments

Sanspo has published multiple articles about the Kevin Mench situation. This one says the Tigers have a list of six or seven guys, and quotes team president Nobuo Minami as saying they won’t release Mench, but are looking for him to make adjustments. An earlier report has Hanshin sending a team representative to America to negotiate a contract with a new slugger. According to the article, the trip is being delayed by the swine flu scare, but scouts Tom O’Malley and Andy Sheets are collecting data.

Sanspo is putting former Seibu Lion Craig Brazell in the lead for the spot. Brazell is with the St. Paul Saints after getting cut by Baltimore at the end of spring training, and should be available at a discount price. Surprisingly, Julio Zuleta’s name has been mentioned again. Zuleta had some good years in Fukuoka, but was pretty bad in his last few NPB seasons with Chiba Lotte, and currently sports a .233/.315/.391 line in the Mexican League

So who else might be on Hanshin’s list? They’re clearly after a power hitter who can play first base or right field.

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Hanshin Looking For a Bat After All

» 18 May 2009 » In npb » 6 Comments

Despite giving struggling import Kevin Mench a vote of confidence last month, importing another bat is apparently still on the table for Hanshin. Says owner Shinya Sakai: “I think Mench has gotten better so he’s been called up. I haven’t gotten a request to acquire someone from (manager Akinobu) Mayumi, but money is not a problem”.

The linked report suggests that Hanshin is looking at retreads Tyrone Woods, Craig Brazell, and Julio Zuleta. Woods seems like the best choice among that group, though I suspect they’ll keep looking.

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Offseason Changes: Chiba Lotte Marines

» 07 February 2009 » In npb » Comments Off

Coming: Tadahito Iguchi, Gary Burnham, Chase Lambin, Juan Muniz

Going: Julio Zuleta, Jose Ortiz, Winston Abreu, Szu-Yu Wu

Staying: Brian Sikorski, Benny Agbayani, Saburo Ohmura, Naoyuki Shimizu, Shingo Ono, Tasuku Hashimoto

Trending: upward

Synopsis: Iguchi is an upgrade over Ortiz, and the combination of Lambin/Burnham should be more productive than the injury-prone Julio Zuleta. None of Lotte’s major Japanese free agency-eligible players chose to sign elsewhere for Bobby Valentine’s final season.

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NPB Bullet Points (2009/01/04)

» 04 January 2009 » In mlb, nichibei, npb » Comments Off

First bullet points of the new year… let’s get started.

Japanese Articles

  • The Tadahito Iguchi rumor mill is heating up a little. According to Nikkan Sports by way of Sports Nifty, the Chiba Lotte Marines are prepared to start the negotiations at 2 years, 400m yen ($4.4m at the current exchange rate).  The article speculates that they could go a little higher as they have the diasppointing Julio Zuleta’s 260m yen ($2.86m) annual salary coming off the books.
  • Nikkan Sports reports that Daisuke Matsuzaka will be training with his former team, the Seibu Lions in preparation for the World Baseball Classic. Matsuzaka will train with Seibut at his own request.
  • Nippon Ham manager Masataka Nashida has announced that Yu Darvish will be his opening day starter. Not really news, but it’ll be a tight schedule with the WBC wrapping up shortly beforehand. In the same breathe, Nashida said that he wants to face Hanshin in the Japan Series this year.
  • Yomiuri Giants reliever and 2008 R0Y Tetsuya Yamaguchi will be doing his pre-camp training in Arizona at the Fischer Sports Gym, where Randy Johnson works out in the offseason. In other training news, Yakult reliever Ryota Igarashi is also heading to Arizona to train at the same gym Nomar Garciaparra uses.
  • The Hiroshima Carp have been flooded with a deluge of orders for their new uniform.

English Articles

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Chiba Lotte’s Free Agents

» 21 October 2008 » In mlb prospects, npb » Comments Off

Alright, looks like I’ll have time to squeeze in a blog entry this morning. This is about the third time that I’ve thought my hiatus would come to an end, only to have something pull my attention away. This time I’m determined to make it stick.

Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be looking at offseason plans for players and teams, as well as working on some essay-type stuff. There’s also the playoffs and Japan Series, so there’s plenty to write about.

Let’s start with The Chiba Lotte Marines, who today announed that Bobby Valentine’s contract has been renewed, and have a number of guys who qualify for free agency.

Naoyuki Shimizu, SP: Shimizu was set to be a hot commodity among NPB teams this winter, drawing rumored interested from Hanshin, Rakuten, Yakult, Yokohama and the Giants, but has recently revealed that he intends to pass on free agency this year with an eye toward the majors later on.

Shingo Ono, SP: After a little indecision, Ono appears to be leaning towards free agency. “I feel like would like to remain with Lotte, but they’re developing good young pitchers and I have to think about moving. I have confidence that I can play for another team.” Yokohama is rumored to be interested in his services.

Tasuku Hashimoto, C: Hashimoto feels like he can start, but is stuck behind all-star Tomoya Satozaki, so I think he’ll be likely to try his fortunes somewhere else. A number of teams are rumored to be interested after his strong 2008 season (.311, 11hr off the bench), but Hanshin is expected to make the biggest play to sign him. Current Tigers catcher Akihiro Yano won’t last forever, and there’s no internal heir apparent.

Saburo, OF: Saburo’s two-year contract is coming to an end, and he’s considering his options, which include moving to MLB. Saburo is quoted as saying, “I’ve compared myself to the major league rightfielders that I see on TV, and if I’m going to go now is my only chance.” Saburo is coming off a solid offensive season (.289/.359/.416) and has won Gold Gloves in 2005 and 2007, but he still profiles as a 4th outfielder on most teams.

Julio Zuleta, DH/1B: Zuleta has been plagued by injuries and ineffectiveness in his two years with the Marines. Expect him to be replaced this off-season.

I’ll add these guys to my free agent list tonight. 

Coming up next: a look at some other free agents and the playoffs thus far.

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